Who says summertime is strictly for swimming, sailboats, and strawberry ice cream? Multitasking is the name of the game for the UW Summer Term, when Badgers gather in the classroom and online for teaching and learning. L&S Learning Support Services (“LSS”) is an active partner in the university’s effort to expand access to high demand classes, scale up the summer session, and help students finish degrees on time.
Who says summertime is strictly for swimming, sailboats, and strawberry ice cream? Multitasking is the name of the game for the UW Summer Term, when Badgers gather in the classroom and online for teaching and learning. L&S Learning Support Services (“LSS”) is an active partner in the university’s effort to expand access to high demand classes, scale up the summer session, and help students finish degrees on time. It achieves this with a team of professional instructional technology consultants who offer comprehensive services in research-based learning design and online course production across the College of Letters & Science.
“It’s rewarding work to help departments offer the flexibility of summer online learning,” says Sigrid Peterson, a teaching assistant who works with the LSS team on online course development. “My favorite part of the job is demonstrating the creative application of digital pedagogy in combination with media arts to make a traditional classroom course compelling when it moves online, especially with the challenge of a condensed summer format,” she shares.
LSS has long served L&S instructors and departments with expertise in blended and online course development, the latest educational technology tools, curricular planning, multimedia digital production, and learning management system (“LMS”) support during the Fall and Spring terms. With the success of the 2016 Summer Session-when UW online course enrollment increased 40% over the previous summer-LSS, with support from the Division of Continuing Studies, devoted additional resources to Summer 2017. Online, six-week iterations of foundational courses in the economics major-Econ 101: Principles of Microeconomics, and Econ 301: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory-benefited from two-camera live lecture recordings and staff expertise in integrating important applications from textbook publishers into the Canvas LMS. And LSS graduate assistants flexed hours of multimedia production and digital design muscle for online versions of Gender & Women’s Studies 200: Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies; Psychology 350: Human Sexuality; and Political Science 103: Introduction to International Relations.
“Our partnership with the Summer Term Office allowed us to hire LSS graduate assistants for a specific list of new L&S online summer courses,” states Jonathan Klein, LSS Senior Instructional Technology Consultant, “but that additional creative brain power and production skill set in the office was invaluable for all the classes we support.”
“On any given day in the office we can be editing a podcast on race and ethnicity in professional sports; filming a guest expert in our studio on LGBTQ youth of color and the school-to-prison pipeline; or thinking about how information organization, visual design, and specific Canvas learning tools can enhance the delivery of canonical ideas in social, political, or queer theory. It’s been fascinating and fun,” says Ashley Cook, another LSS graduate assistant and a PhD candidate in Art History.
“I feel good that our work allows a student to accept a full-time seasonal internship in Milwaukee, or Chicago, or New York while they complete a key course requirement for their major,” says Peterson, “finishing in four years is a key economic concern for so many students and parents, and I’m glad we play a small part in mitigating that kind of stress and financial worry.”
“We even had a few students join weekly online office hours lakeside, from the Memorial Union Terrace-brat in one hand, laptop in the other-which doesn’t sound half bad,” Peterson giggles.